William Broadus biography

It will be interesting in this connection to note something of the history of WILLIAM BROADUS, who was born in Fayette county, Indiana, February 18, 1828, and was reared upon his father’s farm, where he was trained to habits of thrift and industry. He afterward spent several years in learning the trade of a harness and saddlery maker. His father, Robert L. Broadus, represented one of the old and prominent families of Virginia and was born in Caroline county, that state, in the year 1794. He was a carpenter and builder by trade and located first in Fayette county, Indiana, in 1821. There he took up the business of farming, purchasing a tract of land which at that time was in the midst of the wilderness. He made a creditable military record during the war of 1812 and his life as a soldier was afterward a matter of special pride to him. He was drafted for service, but his mother hired a substitute for him. This arrangement did not suit him, however, and he ran away from home and enlisted, serving with honor until the close of the war. Attracted by the discovery of gold in California in 185o he started for St. Joseph, Missouri, where he intended to outfit for the Pacific coast. Two Indiana friends accompanied him and they bought a team which they afterward sold. Mr. Broadus then hired to a company of freighters, the firm of McPike & Strouthers, and eventually reached Salt Lake and the Utah desert. Here the teams gave out and an attempt was made to cross the desert on foot, a very hazardous and difficult undertaking. Mr. Broadus took the lead and the trip was attended with great difficulty. Eventually, however, their eyes were gladdened by the sight of the green valleys of California and Mr. Broadus worked in the placer mines for about three years, during which time he saved three thousand dollars. He then returned by way of Central America and the following winter fed cattle in Illinois. He then purchased a farm and was meeting with very desirable success in his undertakings when cholera destroyed all his hogs and his losses were very heavy. He afterward made his way westward to Kansas and to Colorado and in 1869, entered the employ of some contractors supplying and distributing beef to the Indians at Fort Sill in the Indian Territory. Afterward Mr. Broadus engaged in contracting on his own account and later associated himself with a company working at Fort Sill. He formed a partnership with D. C. Jordan and together they bought and delivered cattle, making a profit of seventeen thousand dollars during the six months they held the contract. Four of their employe[e]s were killed by the Kiowa Indians during this time.

In the spring of 1872 the firm of Jordan & Broadus came to Montague county, Texas, and established a ranch which they began operating with twelve hundred head of cattle. The range was free but soon changes occurred and it became essential to own private pastures. In 1881 they began to buy land and shortly afterward controlled twenty-two thousand acres purchased for a dollar and a half per acre. Eventually they sold twelve thousand acres at six dollars per acre and in 1891 the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent after a business relationship of twenty-two years. The Broadus ranch now contains forty-five hundred acres three miles north of Nocona. The lands and cattle and all personal property were divided at the dissolution of the partnership and since that time Mr. Broadus’ step-son, Tom Hoben, has had charge of affairs. Mr. Broadus was married in June, 1873, to Mrs. Hannah Hoben, a native of Ireland, and they had one child, but it died in early life. By her former marriage Mrs. Hoben had two children, Thomas and Mary, the latter the wife of A. A. Thompson of Corpus Christi. Mr. Broadus departed this life December 20, 1895. He had a wide acquaintance in Texas and was widely and favorably known not only because of his splendid success, but also because of his benevolent and charitable spirit, which enabled him to extend a helping hand to many who needed assistance. His home was always open to rich and poor alike and no one ever sought his aid in vain. In early days when settlements were few and there were no hotels in this part of the country every new corner to the district enjoyed the hospitality of the Broadus home. Mrs. Broadus still presides at the homestead and is always equal to any emergency that might be made upon her household possibilities and equipment. Perhaps there are no two men who deserve greater credit for opening up this part of the state and proving its value as an agricultural as well as a stockraising section than Mr. Broadus and Mr. Hoben and the history of the county would therefore be incomplete without mention of them.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 334-335.